By: Oral Mews
As one man discovered, love has no calendar date nor does it have a specific colour
When Rachel left him for a fisherman from Sop’s Arm she’d met online, Ple Hoddinott sold his crab license and boat, The Rachel Forever, left Anchor Point and moved into town where he took to drinking in the Irish pubs there.
For seven months, including Christmas and his own birthday, he refused to be happy and did not smile once, even though the barmaids had made a game of trying to tease even the hint of one out of him.
Bent on Being Crooked
But like most people bent on being crooked, no matter how flirtatious or funny they were, the line of his lips remained as flat as the horizon outside the Narrows. He was fettered to the past by his memories and no woman’s heat could burn through those chains, until his world turned green one day.
Being from the other side of the island, Ple had no idea of how big Paddy’s Day had gotten in town, or how the undying search for love and international politics had changed it forever.
What became known as the Paddy’s Day Rebellion was started by a group of 14 single university students who were sick of hearing stories of roses, chocolates, hotels, and hot tubs from their friends in relationships in the weeks after Valentine’s Day.
So, one Paddy’s Day, they stood up in a pub and demanded all engagement and wedding rings be removed because this was not a day for that. That day had come and gone they shouted, and from then on engaged or married people entering an Irish pub on Paddy’s Day had to obey the sign by the door that ordered, Pocket the Promise, and remove their rings.
Some people in relationships quit going out that night, but were quick to point out online that green was an appropriate colour seeing how the revolution was born after a one night stand between envy and jealousy.
The following year tens of thousands of single people from all over the world, lured by lurid online videos, descended on the town looking for love, or at least a bit of that luck of the Irish.
An Extension of Revelry
The city, happy with the beer sales and extra taxes, extended the revelry from one day to seven, which the hotels needed to accommodate all the single CFAs, and changed the name of the occasion to Paddy’s Day Week.
The bars opened until there was neither sinner nor saint on the streets. For those seven days in the cold hungry month of March, single people lost and found themselves among the green laughter, the drinking of dark beers, the singing of songs, the dancing of jigs and the telling of stories.
A famous geneticist from Sweden, after spending the week there one year, had sent back seeds of roses that blossomed into a beautiful shamrock green and smelled of loneliness.
These seeds were given to people who started a conversation with the person according to interest, from one to 12, with a dozen meaning take me home now, you smooth talking devil.
Ple did not know that this was now all the rage, so when he walked into the pub on Monday afternoon on the start of Paddy’s week, he was gobsmacked at the swarm of people wearing Kiss Me I’m Irish and Single t-shirts.
He had never witnessed so much dancing, singing and laughing in the place. It was as full as a green egg and there was a woman of lonesome beauty sitting in his spot at the end of the bar, clutching a dozen green roses.
His frown broadened.
‘An Irish Moment’
As he moved across the floor towards her, making his way through the surf of dancing bodies he was swept up in the purpleish-green haze of an Irish moment as the band played a song about some boys who were back in town.
He felt deep within him the tug of a frayed memory of dancing on canvas in kitchens and beyond to dancing ‘round fires at the end of a day, and without thinking, he began to dance.
The other revelers stared at him for a moment and then the entire place began copying him, doing the bayman shuffle, and none of the dancers from all over the world doing it had ever felt so happy having a dance.
Ple barely noticed this because he had been watching she of lonesome beauty get off his bar stool and start walking towards him. Once her feet touched the hardwood of the dance floor, she immediately began dancing the bayman shuffle too.
Soon they were dancing together. Someone gave him a pint of Guinness just as she handed him her dozen green roses. With beer in one hand, bouquet in the other, surrounded by 103 people from 42 countries, all doing the bayman shuffle, Ple Hoddinott smiled shamrocks into the room and grinned leprechauns around the corners of an Irish afternoon.
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